tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC September 30, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT
hearing from president obama live at 1:40 eastern, when talk show host michael smerconish interviews him live on his radio show, and right here on msnbc. changing of the guard. after leading the charge against "don't ask, don't tell," admiral mike mullen hands over the reins to army chief of staff today with an unusual and heartfelt thank you to his wife. >> you've always been my angel, always on my shoulder and i love you more than you can know. and after months of insisting that he is not running for president, is chris christie having a change of heart? plus, the 2012 wives club. ann romney and anita perry taking on new roles in the campaign trail. will they be able to change the course of their husbands'
campaigns? and good day, i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. a big day. we begin with the death of american-born al qaeda leader anwar awlaki, a man considered the single greatest threat to u.s. -- to the u.s. homeland. an inspirational leader, he was killed around 3:00 this morning eastern time, when an american drone fired on his convoy in yemen, killing him and another american-born terrorist sammer kahn. jim miklaszewski is live at the pentagon with the latest. this is a very big deal. they must be celebrating at the pentagon and the white house and elsewhere in the administration. >> absolutely. it wasn't but a week or so ago that a senior u.s. intelligence official told me that anwar al awlaki and al qaeda in the arab peninsula there in yemen were, in fact, and still, in fact, considered the most serious deadly threat, terrorist threat against the united states homeland today. and taking out anwar al awlaki in this manner is a significant
blow to al qaeda's ability to recruit, because awlaki ooze an american-born cleric could communicate over the internet to thousands of possible foot soldiers in the united states without ever getting any feedback, he had the ability to communicate and reach out to them in a language that they understood in an effort to gather some support, and, in fact, encourage attacks against the united states here at home. >> and he used to have a congregation, he was an imam here in suburban washington in virginia. he was known to the pentagon after 9/11, and, in fact, been interviewed, never tagged. but apparently was even further radicalized in jail in gemmen in 2006 and 2007. what are the major hits that he attempted to make against the u.s.? one of the facts is that al qaeda, the al qaeda operation there in yemen was far more
operational than the core al qaeda which was being led by osama bin laden, who was holed up inside his compound there in pakistan and he is said to have been behind the christmas day underwear bomber in the flight over detroit a couple of years ago. and also, in terms of being behind the attempt to blow up either an airliner in flight or deliver package bombs with explosives that were concealed inside the cartridges from printers. so, again, he not only had the ability to inspire, he also had an operational ability that al qaeda core with bin laden haven't had for years, andrea. >> jim miklaszewski at the pentagon with the latest on this very big development. with me live in this live interview, michael lighter, former director of the national counterterrorism center. having left the government you're able to talk. you know this inside out. you were involved in the bin laden hit, of course. this, how big a deal?
>> 'tis really is a huge deal, andrea. after killing bin laden, i think awlaki was really the number two target. no one was more important to protecting the united states. >> jim miklaszewski was talking about how inspirational he was. he had quite a following. among them, of course, what happened in fort hood. that and other young americans and military. were following this man online. >> it's absolutely true. in terms of inspiration, and speaking to english speaking affiliates of al qaeda, there was really no one who had an understanding of their psychology and was able to speak to them and inspire them in the way that anwar awlaki has been able to over the past two or three years. >> and unlike bin laden, who was so well-hidden, although hidden hiding in plain sight as we now know, he was more operational because he was not constrained. he, in fact, felt really invulnerab
invulnerable. >> i think he did. that obviously helped lead to his demise. people need to understand it wasn't just him being an inspiration. this was a man who was an operational commander for attacks against the united states, as jim said, the failed attack on christmas day, the cargo plot. he was trying to inspire and simultaneously, he was leading operations against the united states. >> let's talk a bit about the operation. we believe that it was this combined unit, military, a lot of intelligence goes into it, and the drones. they don't have to have boots on the ground, but this is very, very specific and sophisticated targeting, obviously. >> well, it is. and i think a lot of the tools that had been used successfully to pressure al qaeda in pakistan over the past several years. this illustrates how that same approach to counterterrorism without boots on the ground can also be successful elsewhere, and needs to be applied elsewhere in places like yemen. >> a minute to just talk about mike mullen because we don't want his transition out of the military today to go unremarked.
he's leaving with quite a blast at pakistan, at the very leaders that he, in 27 separate missions, went over to try to cultivate a closer relationship with both the military and intelligence operations there. and now in the last 10 days he has basically accused them of using the hakani network against our soldiers. what he said yesterday is i had to speak out because they're killing americans in afghanistan. this veritable arm, he called it, of the pakistan spy agency. that's tough stuff. >> it is. and i think americans really have to take note of that. because admiral mullen is someone who has served this country so bravely and boldly for so long, and he knows pakistan as well as almost any leader in this government. and his words about the network do reflect, i think, the seriousness with which we have to take hakkani network but also the potential relationship back to pakistani security services. pakistan has to be an ally in our fight against al qaeda and other radicals in this area of
the world. and i think what chairman mullen said was not always the ally we need them to be. >> and what he said today was, in fact, to those who have not been friends enough to us, take today's actions against awlaki to heart because you want to have friends to people who have access to drones. >> well, there's no doubt that, again, this action against awlaki, much like the action against bin laden, shows the reach and focus of our counterterrorism efforts. it really was an important success to securing united states and our allies. >> and finally on a personal note, a lot of that work was done by you at the counterterrorism center, and thank you for your service. >> well, thank you very much for that. and i thank all the people who are still doing this work out there and who have this success today. >> and so now let's bring in former congressman jane harmon, president of the woodrow wilson international center and an intelligence expert from her days in congress, and since. so you have been one of the first people, persons who have really focused intensively on yemen in congress, and drawn it
to all of our attention. let's talk about the importance of getting awlaki today. >> well, i think the things that were just said by jim miklaszewski and mike leiter are all true. i would add something about awlaki, which is that he personally harbored two of the 9/11 hijackers in san diego, and then moved to northern virginia and knew some of the rest of them. so he goes back a long way in terms of heinous crimes against innocent citizens in america. that's point one. the other thing i wanted to add, andrea, is that mike mullen is not only a patriot in terms of his efforts with the war on terror in afghanistan, and pakistan, but he more than any other member of the military was responsible for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." he was the guy who stood up and said it's not right for people to hide who they are. i think we should salute him on the day he retires from the military. >> indeed. that is a point we've been making. he said if you believe in and
you follow the military code, that code requires you not to lie about anything, including who you are. let's talk about the cia's kill, and kill and capture of terrorists. who else is on the list now? >> well, i'm not going to reveal who's on the list. but we do the activities we do extremely carefully. in my long years in congress, spent a lot of time reviewing how we do this. and i think there was at least rumor this morning, i'm not sure if you confirmed it, andrea, that samir kahn might have been -- >> we have confirmed that. >> let's talk about his importance -- >> exactly. >> he is the guy who wrote inspire magazine in colloquial english and a big target for both awlaki and kahn was disaffected people in our own country who are surfing the web and read these on line materials
which teach you how to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom and off selected, preselected and readings from the corinne, and tell you how to encrypt your messages and incite you to violence. i mean let's understand who these people are. they, both of them, have, i think, were american yemenis, but both of them were inciting the killing of the maximum number of americans on american soil. ands you said from the list before, they got people like hasan to kill soldiers in a recruiting center in texas. our future, without those two men, looks a little bit safer. certainly does to me. >> let me just draw our viewers' attention. we just showed on the screen the latest edition of "inspire" magazine, notable because it is their victory lap, if you will, for the tenth anniversary of 9/11 with the twin towers. and in this magazine he also, interestingly, just to tell you how current it is, he criticizes
ahmadinejad's speech at the u.n. last week for denying that al qaeda actually succeeded in 9/11 for calling it a conspiracy and an american jewish or israeli conspiracy. so that just tells you just how profoundly twisted this man was. >> profoundly twisted. evil. >> yeah. >> and pointed -- and capable, this little cell was in yemen. yemen has 150,000 little villages. it's out of resources both oil and water. the leader who fled to saudi arabia after being severely burned has just returned. the government is a failing government, and it is critical to me, and i think we should celebrate this, that the u.s. is able to mount effective counterterrorism operations like that. like this, lashing the cia with our special operations force in the pentagon to target very carefully two guys who probably
who are the most dangerous people in the boonies of yemen, targeted the american chromeland. these are the two guys and they were two of four that were taken down today. i'm not celebrating killing anybody. but i surely think, as president obama said, this sends a very strong message that there's no safe haven anywhere for terrorist senior operational terrorists who want to -- who want to kill as many innocent americans as possible. >> thank you so much, jane harman, for joining us today. and coming up next, is chris christie showing more leg about running? and coming up at 1:40 eastern, remember michael smerconish's exclusive enter view with president obama right here. we'll bring you live on msnbc. chan
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chris christie is still denying that he's running for president, but at least he's no longer threatening suicide to get people to stop talking about it. speaking alongside louisiana governor bobby jindal last night, christie hinted at a potential higher calling. >> if it were, you know, up to bobby and i, we could focus all our time right here in our own states here in louisiana and new jersey. but, we can't do that. because america's got to get better, too. >> well. msnbc contributor and managing editor of postpolitics.com joins us. he's not shutting the door. now our friend lawrence o'donnell yesterday was with me and he suggested that this was all about fund-raising. >> mm-hmm. >> and raising money for his re-election campaign which is a completely valid scenario. >> very plausible. >> but he really is playing tease here. >> look, as you pointed out, this is a guy who said what sort of suicide could i do to convince you guys i'm not running at the reagan like year earlier this week, again in the
clip you just showed, andrea. that is not the what sort of political suicide can i do to convince you i'm not running? i've talked to folks who are kind of in his orbit. here's what they say. he is thinking about whether he wants to run. now that doesn't mean he's planning to run. it doesn't mean anything like that. but it does mean he's not ruling it out. that's a change from where we were, i would say two weeks ago. certainly where we were two months ago. >> now florida ratified the january 31st date today which does do exactly what the party didn't want them to do. >> christmas in des moines. >> christmas in des moines, don't even go there. but it's now christmas in des moines and new hampshire and nevada and south carolina because nobody is going to give up their place in line. it just means front-leading it all and that according to some of the candidates, i was looking at rick santorum, i think he was saying i think on fox's greta, he was saying this means that it's a romney -- he said it's a romney, perry, cabal in the party to push this off all
because it's disadvantaging us who don't have enough time and money. >> that is -- it certainly helps the better known and better financed candidates. they're age to compete in, let's say it's five states, iowa, new hampshire, nevada, south carolina and florida. let's put those sometimes between january 1st and january 31st. only perry and romney at the moment are able to compete in all those places at once. rick santorum, jon huntsman, they have to pick and choose. it could also disadvantage chris christie if he runs. and here's why. he's already starting incredibly late. now he has to try and put together organizations in all these places with a very truncated timetable. first this morning, chuck and his guys, october 31st is the filing deadline for florida. so we're not talking about a lot of time to put stuff together. >> while we have the deadline of the ghosts and goblins for halloween, what about the money? and this is a very important deadline. >> this is the last day of the third fund-raising quarter. romney will, the boston globe
has reported romney will be between $1 million and $13 million. >> less than -- >> less than the $18 million he raised last time at this time in 2007. we expect perry to be the leader. i think perry needs to be the leader. he's really scuffled since his debate performance last week in orlando. so i think he needs this to re-energize him. but a lot of doaners still sitting on the sidelines, and christie showing interest, andrea, does not help rick perry or mitt romney get those people on board before the fund-raising deadline. >> people put their wallets down. >> see you later. >> and up next the politico briefing. the wives club edition. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports." mary? what are you doing here? it's megan. i'm getting new insurance. marjorie, you've had a policy with us for three years. it's been five years. five years. well, progressive gives megan discounts that you guys didn't. paperless, safe driver, and i get great service.
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obama, caught bargain shopping at target. amazingly the other shoppers didn't i.d. her until the cashier saw through that nike cap and dark glasses. and romney, who filed papers for her husband in south carolina today talked about just how tough the scrutiny can be on spouses. >> if anybody can find our dad, it's us. we stopped at every ravine and looked over every hill and then my brother got out of the car and we kept screaming. >> oh, my god -- >> very sorry for that. jim, vandehei, those were actually the children of the man who was rescued from a ravine in california. but, what ann romney talked about very movingly was not only her exposure to this campaign again, but she also talked, let's see if we have it ready, the fact that she does suffer from multiple sclerosis, has worked through it and how she felt when she had to first tell her husband about that, about having a disease, which can be disabling and progressive. let's watch.
>> i thought, my life is over. i -- i'm unfinished. this is awful. i can't spend the rest of my life just not sitting, and just being in bed. mitt was really amazing during this time. my most difficult time in my life. he would put his arm around me, and mitt would say, look, you used to make dinner, now you can't. i don't care. i can eat toast and cereal the rest of my life. i don't care. that's not why i love you, because you make me dinner. we're going to be okay. it did something to me. and eventually, emotionally, and it made me want to fight. >> she is a powerful, powerful presence in life, and of course in politics. this wife and so is anita perry. i wanted to show you a little bit, jim, of anita perry in iowa earlier this week. >> the last thing i tell him when he goes out the door is, be yourself. down as a fighter and this is his opportunity to show up. i want him to say, maybe i
shouldn't say this. >> so how do you assess the wives' impact on their husbands' campaigns? >> in both cases, it makes them more likable. makes them more normal. i think when voters are looking at these candidates one way to validate a candidate and validate decisions you've made is to show you have a good marriage, a good wife. and in both cases you see these politicians doing it. for mitt romney in particular. he's really struggled to show people he's a normal guy who has a family, a normal life, despite his great looks and all the money he's made throughout his life. i think this is part of that effort. and for rick perry he sees his wife as a real strategic asset in this race. you know, she wasn't that involved in the races in texas, and they feel that getting her out there, she can draw big crowds, and that she's a forceful advocate for his position. so, it usually is the case that the spouse can be a fantastic advocate for the candidate or once you're in the white house, for the president.
>> indeed. and in this case, three strong and very smart women that we looked at today. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> jim and the obama administration scoring yet another victory against al qaeda today. but are the voters listening? we'll be hearing from the president just minutes from now when he joins michael smerconish live on michael's radio show. but first, education nation, and a new plan today, aimed at better preparing our next generation of teachers. education secretary arne duncan says that the effort will help reform scholarships, aid, and build a stronger support system for new teachers entering the system. duncan cited a recent study that shows that about two-thirds of young educators felt unprepared to go into the classroom. [ male announcer ] it's a fact:
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manslaughter trial of dr. conrad murray. they claim that murray never mentioned giving jackson propofol, the drug that killed him. and in italy, amanda knox's appeal hearing is in its final day before an anticipated verdict that could come as soon as monday. today lawyers for the family of meredith kercher, the roommate knox is accused of murdering, asked the court to confirm the first degree murder conviction. knox and her supporters are hopeful after a court-ordered forensics review discredited key dna evidence that was used to convict her. yacht rage over bank fees. bank of america is going to start charging customers a monthly $5 fee for using their debit cards to pay for purchases. customers who don't want to pay can still access their cash in their accounts from atms, online, and cell phones. some other banks have recently introduced the same charges. they say it's part of a way to offset the loss of revenue from new rules limiting how much they can collect from merchants. and talk about a cliff-hanger.
a 67-year-old man has been rescued six days after his car plunged 150 feet down a cliff in the los angeles national forest in california. he survived by drinking water from a creek and eating leaves and bugs. and who finally found him? incredibly, his own children. who went out on their own search. >> we were aware of certain things with text messages, that we were able to zero in, and ping his towers of the satellite towers of the cell phone towers to actually to be able to narrow down actually exactly where my father was. >> this morning, president obama said that the death of anwar al awlaki is a milestone in the broader effort to defeat al qaeda. in fact just the latest in a string of more than 20 top al qaeda figures who have been killed or captures in the past two years. nbc's kristen welker is live at the white house, where, of course, they are very excited about this victory over al qaeda. one of the things that happened today, and i want to share this
with you. i know you're aware of what ron paul said. i believe in new hampshire. this was this morning in manchester, and he was criticizing this because awlaki was born in the u.s. let's watch. >> awlaki was an american citizen. he was never tried or charged for any crimes. nobody knows if he ever killed anybody. we know that he might have been associated with the underwear bomber. but, if the american people accept this blindly and casually, we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys. i think it's sad. >> that was the politics and eggs breakfast in manchester. i don't know whether anyone actually celebrates the -- the death of any other human being. but certainly, accusing the president of assassination is -- is a stretch, politically, isn't it? >> it certainly is. and what's interesting here is,
is that we've seen sort of broad, bipartisan outpouring of support for the actions that were taken in yemen. we had reaction from romney, presidential candidate rick perry, who both said that this is certainly something the president should be praised for. we had representative peter king, chairman of the homeland security come out and say this is a tremendous tribute to the president and to the intelligence community. so these comments by ron paul, while they might be emblematic of some feelings that some americans have, certainly aren't sort of the majority of what we are seeing. which is really bipartisan support for what happened. andrea? >> and another republican, michele bachmann, this week blamed president obama for the arab spring. let's watch this. >> you want to know why we have an arab spring? barack obama has laid the table for an arab spring by demonstrating weakness from the united states of america. >> so i guess in bachmann's
world, the arab spring is a bad thing? >> right. well, you know, it's interesting. a lot of people were confused by those comments, because, again, republicans, this administration, certainly, have come out and said that the arab spring is representative of the fact that democracies are emerging in the arab world. it will be interesting to see if this resonates with any republicans, with tea party members. so far we really haven't had any indication that it has, though, because, again, the arab spring has really been held up as an example of the fact that there are more democracies emerging. andrea? >> kristen welker at the white house. thank you very much. joining me now bill bushten, a former deputy white house press secretary under president obama of course and now senior strategist for priority usa. and david winston a republican strategist and adviser to house speaker john boehner. welcome both. >> thank you. >> david, they are certainly out liars in this campaign. so far michele bachmann was recently a front-runner but after her debate performances but this does show a real
problem on foreign policy. >> well, again -- i mean those interviews were not with the front-runners. i'm sorry but ron paul's statement is just absurd. i mean peter king as chairman of the committee came out and said -- >> mitt romney -- >> and then virtually every other republican has said, look, this was a positive accomplishment for this country. they've given appropriate deference to the president and to the intelligence community for what they did. i have to say, watching that clip, and watching ron paul, i was taken aback by that. that doesn't represent where republicans are at. >> with all the successes, though, on foreign policy, particularly they're withdrawing from iraq on schedule. they have had obviously other big problems and challenges continue in afghanistan. but these al qaeda successes, the bin laden death, yet this doesn't seem to be registering with the voters, because it really is the economy. >> it's remarkable that the president has in many ways taken
national security off the table as an issue altogether. i don't think a lot of folks would have thought three years ago that at this point of the presidential race president obama would be sort of untouchable when it comes to national security. but what this particular instance says about the president as a man, and as a leader, is that he's a strong leader. he's someone who can coolly and calmly sit in the oval office and do what it takes to keep the american people safe. you wonder, can a guy like mitt romney fill that same kind of role? we've seen mitt romney's leadership and it's been a failed record of leadership on the economy and massachusetts. so, that's what i think this really says is what kind of leader is barack obama? >> david, i think you would disagree with the failed record in massachusetts. but, let me -- let me stipulate that and quickly take you, because we're waiting to hear from the president shortly, in his live interview with michael smerconish, let me take you to chris christie. because we haven't chatted in the last couple of days about that. do you think that this is the real deal or like lawrence o'donnell was telling me yesterday on the program that this is really a fund-raising
campaign for his re-election? >> i think there's a lot of pressure on him and a lot of people talking to him. so what's happening to him is basically he wants to sort of listen to folks and give them a chance to have their say. i still think he's a no. but he has people who he values who are trying to push him. >> if i may, by the way, again if you want to contrast economic records i'd contrast romney's with the president's any day at this point, given the unemployment rate. >> what does it say about mitt romney that people are still pressuring, important people, are still pressuring chris christie to get into the race? what's wrong with mitt romney, rick perry the other two leading candidates? >> i don't think it's necessarily that. i think chris christie is someone people find very attractive. and obviously folks in the contributor community, donor community, who really like him. who really want him to think about this. i wouldn't say this is say negative reflection on the two front-runners, or three at this point if you include king, i think that's a positive statement about chris christie. >> what about chris christie? is he the toughest possible opponent for the president in that he's got this sort of real
deal flavor? >> i don't know that chris christie is tougher than any of the other republicans. if this were a movie, it would be called mitt romney, they're just not that into you. if you look at the course of this campaign, they've floated everybody from mitch daniels to rubio to jeb bush to pataki, on and on and on. and it's not because all those candidates would be so great in the republican primary. it's because mitt romney may well end up the republican nominee. but it's not because he's their favorite choice, it's because they've exhausted all other possible options. >> is this a case of sort of like high school dating when you finally do settle on your spouse or your intended that you forget about all the other guys that came before? >> no. i -- this is a situation, there are a lot of attractive folks out there. people who like romney, like romney, perry, gingrich, you find a group of candidates that people like. however, having said that, if there was a chance to have one more choice, any party would like to have it if you've got a good candidate get into the middle of the race because it gives the voters more opportunity to have a better choice.
so i think that's what's happening here. and some people particularly like him and think he should get into the race. does that mean that he'll win? that's certainly to be determined. >> and with florida now moving up, the republicans in florida moving this up to january 31st and pushing everything forward, you've got october filing deadlines, he's got to make a decision soon. you guys both agree on that. >> just from the logistics point of view, it's hard to wait too long before you get in. there's so many primaries so early on. it's just very difficult. >> and big unknown for us, is we now proportional primaries through april 1st. moving it up, i'm not sure what that does. >> and let me just cut you off. with apologies because michael smerconish is about to interview president obama, live on his nationally syndicated the michael smerconish program and this marks the sixth conversation that he has had with the president. >> a candidate for the highest office in the land, if things go according to plan, my expectation is that i will get into subjects that include the war on terror, the $14 trillion
debt that's faced by the nation, the housing crisis, the president's jobs proposal, including unemployment benefits. the role of the citizenry. i had a tremendous call from a listener yesterday who said please ask the president what we should be doing. i have some thoughts in mind about the 2012 campaign, as well, including some rule changes that are contemplated in states across the country, including my native pennsylvania. and i want to talk about the best way in which to spend stimulus money. so, all of that is on the agenda. i really appreciate so many of the questions that have been submitted to me via twitter. the facebook. i have perused them all. it's hard to satisfy all aspects of the audience. hard to give everybody what they're looking for. the only commitment that i have made to the white house is to be respectful, and direct. but never any prescreening, never any please ask him this, and don't ask him that kind of a
thing. and i really welcomed that kind of dialogue. i will tell you this, by way of additional background. in each of our five prior conversations, in every discussion that we have had thus far, i asked him not only about the hunt for bin laden, but also about the hunt for bin laden in pakistan. as a matter of fact, it was interesting to roll some tape just before the break of prior conversations where, in our last discussion, which was 11 months ago, i found myself saying to the president of the united states, is itçh
>> well, you know, i will tell you that that whole night, what was running through my mind is, the safety of those folks who were going out there. because this was an incredibly dangerous mission. all kinds of things could have gone wrong. as everybody, i think, knows subsequently, a helicopter had some problems, as it was landing in the compound. and so, you know, throughout the month leading up to this event as we were looking at how this operation would unfold, the incredible discipline, and
precision with which these guys operated, we also knew that it carried a great deal of risk, and my main concern was just making sure that we got our guys back safely. >> now comes the news that we have taken out anwar al awlaki. did you give that order? >> you know, i can't talk about the operational details, michael. this is something that we have been working with the yemeni government on for quite some time. there's been significant cooperation, at the intelligence levels. with a lot of countries in the region. we are very pleased that mr. awlaki is no longer going to be in a position to directly threaten the united states homeland, as well as our allies around the world. this is the guy who was at the forefront of ordering the christmas day bomber. to carry out his plans. they had put bombs in cartridges, printer cartridges, that were set to go off in u.s.
cargo planes, and hat it not been for outstanding intelligence work and cooperation with some of our partners, that could have been a catastrophe. so this was the guy who was operationally involved in trying to kill americans. and the fact that he is now no longer around to initiate the kind of propaganda that also was recruiting people all around the world to that murderous cause, i think, is something that's very good for american security. >> mr. president, how many hostile acts must pakistan commit before we end all funding and you accept admiral mullen's assessment that the al hakkani network acts as a veritable arm of the isi? >> there's no doubt that you have extremists in pakistan, in the border regions that are crossing the border into afghanistan, and attacking our guys. and we have pushed pakistan very hard on this. now keep in mind that pakistan has also provided us outstanding
cooperation in going after al qaeda. but, they still have, in their territory, people who are carrying out actions, particularly in afghanistan, that are endangering our troops. so we've been very firm with them about needing to go after safe havens inside of pakistan. but we've tried to also preserve the intelligence cooperation that we've obtained that's allowed us to go after al qaeda in a very effective way. there's no doubt that the relationship is not where it needs to be. and we are going to keep on pressing them to recognize that it is in their interests, not just ours, to make sure that extremists are not operating within their borders. >> did admiral mullen get it right about al hakkani? >> i think mike's testimony expressed frustration over the fact that safe havens exist, inside of pakistan. i think that, you know, the
intelligence is not as clear as we might like in terms of what exactly what relationship is, but my attitude is, whether there is active engagement with haqqani on the part of the pakistanis or rather just passively allowing them to operate with impunity in some of these border regions they've got to take care of this problem. >> mr. president, let's talk about the debt. do you think that any plan to address the budget deficit should include only tax increases, only spending cuts? or as i suspect you will say, a combination of both? and if it is the latter, in what proportion? >> well, you heard during the debt ceiling debate me out there repeatedly saying we need a balanced approach. i've already signed into law a trillion dollars worth of spending cuts on programs that we either don't need, some of which are actually very valuable programs, but nevertheless, you know, all of us have to make some sacrifices. i've put forward a plan that has
an additional $1 trillion -- half a trillion dollars in spending cuts. and makes some very difficult choices around things like agricultural subsidies, and, you know, how folks in the civil service are financing their retirements. but, when you do all those cuts, you're still not going to be closing the entire deficit. and if we want to fully stabilize our debt and our deficits, then you also got to combine it with some revenue. and what i've said is something that the vast majority, not just of democrats, but actually a sizable number of republicans agree with, as well. which is that there's got to be a revenue component. there are wealthy americans who i think are patriots and are willing to do their part, as long as, you know, they are knowing that their money is going to closing the deficit or for programs that are going to help make us more competitive. and if we make modest
adjustments, closing loopholes, making sure that the wealthy are paying their fair share. making sure that a guy like warren buffett is paying the same tax rate as his secretary, then we can actually stabilize our deficits for at least a decade, if not more. and that's the plan that i've put forward. i'm hoping that congress will act on it. >> my wife and mother are both realtors. and my wife, in particular, every night at dinner talks about the soft market. >> right. >> here's what she report reports, mr. president. she says that an increasing number of deals are short sales where people are upside down on their mortgages. she finds that the banks are ill-prepared to do these deals and wonders what can you do to spur the housing market, as well as bring relief to people whose homes are worth less than their mortgages? >> well, one of the things we're trying to do is to work with the banks to accelerate a short-sale process. and for your listeners who aren't in real estate, a short
sale is an option that prevents foreclosure, but it means that the bank's going to actually do better net than if they actually foreclosed on the mortgage. wilo better than if they foreclosed on the mortgage. our attitude is this is a smart thing to do for families who are trying to sell their homes rather than have them foreclosed upon and all the consequences of that. let's move the short sale forward. part of the problem we have these days is that a lot of mortgages are not held by banks. they got slice and dies and packaged into these mortgage securities and they have service companies and untangling the legal issues have been difficult. the big thing we are talking about that could have an impact on millions of american homeowners is helping them to take advantage of historically low rates.
we have not seen as many refinancings of mortgages given how low rates are partly because of the up front fees. >> what you would hear from her is there is a funk out there and the product is good. it's inexpensively price and the interest rates are at historic lows where people are looking for a sign before they jump in the water. >> part is psychology and part to be honest is you still have this shadow inventory of all these homes that are still on the market. we went on this building binge over the course of a decade. as a consequence you have a bunch of homes, particularly in states like nevada and florida and california, arizona. the supply greatly exceeds demand. what we are seeing, i think, is
that the housing market is beginning to bottom out. mortgages interest rates are at historic low. if we can just start getting people who are ready to buy, have good credit ready to go, then go ahead and dip their toe in the water and make the purchases, we can get a cycle and housing prices can start stabilizing. the one thing that's important and i think your wife would agree with this, people's expectations of this enormous appreciation in their home values every year, those days are not going to come back any time soon. the purchasers have to have an understanding that they have to look at the information and make sure they understand their mortgages and don't get in over their heads. obviously home ownership will be a central part of the american dream and we want to encourage
that. >> yesterday a woman named susan called the radio program and asked a tremendous question. would you please ask the president, what can we do, what should we do, should we the citizenry be spending and should we plant a garden or hire college kids? give us the marching orders so we are not reliant on washington to get us out of this. what's the answer some. >> it depends on circumstances, but if you have got a job right now that's stable and steady, we want you to just be out there with confidence knowing that the american economy is still the most dynamic in the world. if you need a new washer and drier, buy the washer and drier. if you need a new car, buy the new car. the economy is going to be chugging along. it's not moving as fast as we would like. if you are unemployed, we want
to make sure that you are being helped. that's why we put forward this american jobs act. congress can make a difference to increase growth by 2% and put up to 1.9 million people back to work. teachers in the classroom and construction workers rebuilding roads and bridges giving tax credits for hiring veterans coming back from iraq and afghanistan. that will make a difference. in the meantime, one of the thing that is a lot of people can do, particularly if they have just been laid off and their industry may be contra contracting, this is a great time to get new training. we made college loans more accessible than they have ever been. sharpening your skills and retraining for the jobs of the future is something that can make a huge difference. if you are a small business person or a large business person, go out there and hire.
take a bet on america. the fact is that we have incredible workers and they are more productive than they have ever been. they are looking for a chance and there is a market out there to be had as long as people get more confident. >> you mention small business. i know a guy named michael smyth and he said when we extend unemployment benefits, he is concerned about the message it sends long-term. why not provide tax incentives to expand payrolls. he told me when he runs a want ad he gets the same number as when the unemployment was 6%. >> you should your buddy that first of all, part of the jobs act includes a tax break for small businesses who are increasing payroll or that matter increasing wages for the existing payroll. he will have a huge incentive to hire additionally.
one of the things we said is look, it's important for the economy as a whole as well as families down on their luck to make sure they have money in their pockets to buy groceries and keep the lights on. what we said is let's reform the system and adopt good ideas that have been tried in georgia and north carolina where rather than send you an unemployment check, it said we will take part of this unemployment insurance and apply it to the wages to subsidize if you are working in a temporary job. that's a good smart way to make sure that people are still in the market, getting up and going to work every day. even if it's not going to be the ultimate employment, it keeps the skills sharp and fills out the resume so as they are looking for permanent employment, they are going to have a little more confidence
than they would if they were just out of the workplace for a long period of time. >> i will lose you in a minute. are the goal posts being moved on you in 2012? in pennsylvania there is a move afoot to change the way in which electoral votes are apportioned. you had 21 in 08 and you would have one if this new rule came into effect. i look at that and photo id and i wonder what's going on out there. what's your level of concern and i have you for about 30 seconds. >> the people of pennsylvania will decide how they want to allocate their electoral votes. i will leave it up to them. i will say my big priority is making sure that as many people are participating in the democracy as possible. some of these moves in the other states we have seen are trying to make it tougher to vote and restricting ballot acts and making it hard on seniors and
young people. that's a big mistake. i have made sure our justice department is take a look at what's being done to ensure that people are not being denied access to the franchise. >> first lady shops at target. where do you most want to shop under cover? >> i don't want to shop. i want to take a walk. as she reminds me, nothing i do is under cover. she always jokes about my modo kad. she gets embarrassed to go out with me because there is an ambulance and caboose and a dog sled that trial trails for about a mile behind me. i'm glad she can sneak off. one thing she loves is shop at target. >> mr. periresident, i apprecia the dialogue. >> always a pleasure talking to you. >> that's the president of the united states. >> that was a live interview on
his radio show in philadelphia with of course president barack obama. wide ranging questions about the economy and the killing of yemen and the first lady sneaking out to shop at target. that's it for us for today. tamron hall is standing by with "news nation" from the latest from president obama's interview. tamron? >> michael will join us in a second, but in the meantime the "news nation" is following breaking news. praise and condemn nation and reaction to the news of today's killing of one of the world's most wanted terrorist. al-awlaki has been swifted. ron paul is helping reignite the debate over whether the united states should kill its own citizens without the due process of law. congressman called it an assassination. >> he is an american citizen. he was never tried or